Theatrical Technology Assessment


Time: Medium

Difficulty: Advanced

People: 6-25 people


Theatrical Technology Assessment (TTA) is a designed roleplay in which participants slip into the role of one stakeholder by means of instruction and improvisation. This enables participants to explore complex dynamics around emerging technologies from different stakeholder perspectives and to translate these experiences into strategies how to anticipate and steer innovation. The TTA cases are designed for education, but can also be played with professionals.  


  1. Preparation:
    1. Select one of the three cases and designate roles to the participants (minimum of 5 players and 1 person as moderator). Ideally, more people are present who can serve as an audience to interact with during the warming up and reflection moments. Introductory material and printouts for the participants are available below, under the heading DOWNLOADS.
    2. The moderator is responsible for the introduction of the roleplay, the warming up exercise, leading the stakeholder discussion in the roleplay, and guiding the reflection. The moderator should be familiar with the material provided with the case. It is also possible to share the moderator tasks among two people, one focusing on the organizational tasks (introducing roleplay, guiding reflection) and another person on the theatrical part (warming up, leading the roleplay discussion).
    3. The players receive a technology and role description at the beginning of the TTA session to become familiar with their role and the setting of the play. If possible, the material can be handed out prior to the session to allow more time for preparation. Players should hand back the descriptions to the moderator before the actual playing begins.

  2. Roleplay:
    1. The roleplay is designed for a lecture unit of 105 minutes. If more time is available, the preparation, warming up and discussion time can be extended.

  3. Reflection:
    1. In the last reflection round it is important to articulate what you learned from the roleplay, in terms of relevant theories, models, and goals of the context in which the TTA is embedded.

Case 1: ‘Screening Society’ 

 Case 2: ‘Quantum Revolution’ 



If you are interested in doing a TTA yourself, you can download all information here, including the moderator material, the technology description and the role descriptions for each case. The content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License (International).

Screening Society - Case

Case Material 'Screening Society'

Quantum Revolution - CASE

Case Material 'Quantum Revolution'


Case Material 'Internet of Plants'


Visscher, K. (2020). Theatrical Technology Assessment: A Role-play Simulation for Bridging the Gap between Technology and Society in Interdisciplinary Engineering Education. (STePS working paper series "Science, Technology & Policy Studies"; Vol. 2020, No. 01). Universiteit Twente - Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS).

Visscher (2022), Experiencing complex stakeholder dynamics around emerging technologies: A role-play simulation, forthcoming.

Van Bilsen, G., Kadijk, J., & C. Kortleven (2013), Yes and…your business; The added value of improvisation in organizations.